Mohamed Noor Appointed Executive Vice Provost

Evolutionary biologist Mohamed Noor

Announced in February, the search committee was chaired by Mark Anthony Neal, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of African and African American Studies.

As executive vice provost, Noor will be a key member of the provost’s leadership team, contributing strategic vision and overseeing implementation for all areas of Duke’s academic mission. His responsibilities will include oversight of new program development and faculty affairs administration, implementation of the strategic plan and ongoing strategic academic initiatives, and serving as a champion for excellence in teaching, research, and mentoring across the university. The newly configured position includes the current duties of the vice provost for academic affairs.

Noor has a distinguished track record of academic leadership at Duke, having served as interim dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences from July 2022 through January 2023, dean of natural sciences within Trinity College from 2019 to 2022, and chair of the Department of Biology from 2013 to 2017.

“I’m so excited to keep working with brilliant colleagues to brainstorm even more ways to foster the success of our faculty and trainees at this wonderful university,” Noor said. “Go Duke!”

“I’m delighted that Professor Mohamed Noor will be Duke’s next executive vice provost. Mohamed is a trusted colleague and leader and is admired by faculty, students and staff across the university. In this new role, he will build on the important initiatives he has led in the past year.”

Provost Alec D. Gallimore

Noor’s research has focused on evolutionary genetics, including seeking to understand what genetic changes contribute to the formation of new species and identifying lethal genetic variation in natural populations and the evolutionary processes that maintain such variation.

In 2008, Noor received the Darwin-Wallace Medal from the Linnean Society of London. Awarded once every 50 years from 1908 through 2008, the medal is one of the highest honors in evolutionary biology.

In addition to his scholarship, Noor is well known for his connection to the Star Trek universe. Noor’s book “Live Long and Evolve: What Star Trek Can Teach Us about Evolution, Genetics, and Life on Other Worlds,” offers an introduction to scientific concepts using examples from Star Trek and infused with insight and humor. Noor used this book to teach his Duke biology seminar course in Spring 2024.

Noor is an occasional science consultant for the popular science-fiction TV franchise, and he recently re-launched his YouTube mini-series, “BioTrekkie with the Admiral,” which he co-hosts with Duke alumna and Star Trek actor Jayne Brook, who portrayed Admiral Katrina Cornwell in Discovery seasons 1 and 2.  

A respected teacher and mentor, Noor has been recognized with several awards at Duke, including the Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award, the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, the David and Janet Vaughan Brooks Teaching Award, Bass Society of Fellows’ Earl D. McLean Professorship, The Graduate School’s Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, and the Gordon G. Hammes Faculty Teaching Award from the Duke University School of Medicine.

Noor has also been a national leader in his field, serving as president of the American Genetic Association, president of the Society for the Study of Evolution, and a member of the board of directors for the Genetics Society of America. He has been editor-in-chief of the academic journal Evolution and has served on the editorial board for other publications including American Naturalist, Genetics, and PLoS Biology.

Noor graduated from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor of science degree and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.